I sense an opening here for a practical libertarian sensibility coming to the fore, from the grass roots … from the blogs. What makes this sensibility a moderating influence is the tie that it makes to sensible governance.
This country has been whipsawed for too long between those who hate big business and those who hate big government, and who have used both to pound on both, to many bad effects. The trick is to look past the sports events we call elections, to the hard and compromising work we call governance. Are we going to fix the roads? Make public transportation work? Continue opening trade? Fix health care? Can we? (It’s a legitimate question.) Should we? How? Visiting those questions with an open mind, I think, is most deeply what networked democracy is all about.
To return to the thought at the top of the file, when you’re a blog everything looks like a post. I’m not among those whose pulse starts to race when yet another pol enters the blogrolls. I don’t think it is all that significant. Why? First because it is very premature to start picking winners and losers and the reasons why. Second, because I don’t think for a moment these PoliBloggers are sincere. Reasons?
But hope dies hard, and when a man shows up that not only says things that make the left feel good about itself, but uses the tools of the cyberlibertarian realm in a manner that seems effective, then it is understandable that those deeply embedded in the cyberculture and Blogworld start to perceive a luminosity around a candidate that is not visible to the vast unconnected, unwired, and unconcerned multitudes.
I’m of two minds on this.
On one hand, I feel like a change in perspective is coming, and in my own shared disaffection I feel like I’m moving with a larger tide. When Doc says “The trick is to look past the sports events we call elections, to the hard and compromising work we call governance,” he’s definitely talking my language.
On the other, I think that Dean is an arguably (I know some folks in Vermont who don’t think so) good guy who is using the tools of the Internet to get some early leverage in the race. I doubt that he will be nominated, and if he is nominated, I’ll predict a McGovern-level debacle for the Democrats. I do think that the blogoverse is an echo chamber, in which fifty or one hundred conversations take place and suddenly we feel like the world is changing. Gerald is fully in the right to throw some cold water on the fantasies of the Wired Magazine crowd.
I commented a long time ago that this blogging thing is a dojo – a training and practice ground – in which I hope to develop my own political thinking so I can take it out and use it in the real world.
I’m softening a bit on that, and coming to believe that it is becoming a stream in the giant media Feed that helps define that ‘real world'; but I still hold that it’s what we do when we’re away from the keyboard that counts.